Cindy Wei, an MSc student in the Department of Kinesiology, has been selected as the first student from the Faculty of Health to win a Cansbridge Fellowship. The program allows a small cohort of Canadian students to attend a week-long conference in Silicon Valley, travel to Asia for a summer internship and join a supportive network of high-achieving individuals.
The Cansbridge Fellowship program has been modified due to COVID-19 this year, but Wei and the 14 other Fellows will still be able to participate in an online Silicon Valley Boot Camp and to choose a domestic location where they can pursue their research or other interests. Wei is considering Quebec, where she can potentially work with a McGill University researcher from the School of Human Nutrition and brush up on her French.
“As a young person with no children or major responsibilities, I have so much freedom to learn new things and seek out new experiences,” Wei said. “I am always asking myself, ‘How can I get away from the places I know and interact with new people, live in new cities, and learn new things?’ Canada has so much to offer.”
After she received the Schulich Leader Scholarship in 2015, she began studying Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and actively searched for new opportunities and learning experiences. She received an International Experience Award from the University, which funded her trip to Nepal, where she spent a month volunteering in the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu.
In addition to volunteer work, Wei also spent five years with Professor Heather Keller in the Department of Kinesiology. There, she completed her research apprenticeship, eight-month co-op and undergraduate thesis with the Nutrition and Aging Lab.
Currently, Wei works with Keller in the Nutrition and Aging Lab as a Master’s student, where her research focuses on investigating links between nutrition risk for community-dwelling older adults and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have been interested in this Fellowship for quite some time and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” Wei said.
The 2021 Cansbridge Fellowship cohort includes one other student from Waterloo: Mathurah Ravigulan from Engineering.